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Starter Engages When Battery Is Connected

Few things are as frustrating as when your car or truck will not start. It costs you time and money trying to figure out what is wrong. If you are lucky, you narrow it down to a dead battery.

But what if after you replace the battery you have a different problem arise? Sometimes you may find that your starter is engaging, even though you aren’t turning the ignition key. What causes this to happen? And what can you do to fix this?

 

Starter engages when battery is connected

Starter engages when battery is connected

How do the starter and battery work?

In order to understand the possible problems with your starter, you need to understand how it all works. The starter has a terminal that connects it to the battery. There is also a smaller terminal on the starter. This smaller terminal is the ignition switch that kicks the solenoid to engage the starter.

Starter and battery diagram

Starter and battery diagram

What to do if your starter stays engaged?

If you have replaced your starter, you may find you have this problem. If your starter engages when the battery is connected, but you aren’t turning the ignition key, you need to check a few things out. This is an issue that must be resolved.

  1. Over tightening

It is possible that you have over tightened the post on the smaller terminal. This is the terminal that signals to the solenoid to start the ignition. When this happens, the starter is getting the signal to start all the time.

It is very possible that when you over tightened the screws, and this has also cracked the solenoid case. You will need to replace these parts.

Btw, you can use battery maintainer to maintain your car battery,

What are some other reasons why my starter stays engaged?

  1. Oil or fluid leaks. If your car is showing any signs of having fluids or oil leaks, this could be causing an internal problem. Often times these kinds of leaks can and do ruin parts of the engine and can lead to fires. This type of corrosion can lead to starter issues.
  2. Loose mounting. It is crucial to check the mounting if you have recently replaced your  starter.
  3. Over tightening. If you are installing a new starter yourself, you should not use an impact wrench.  You should only hand tighten the bolts on the starter. And when you are tightening them, be sure to alternate bolts as you work. This will help prevent over tightening and cracking of the mounting.
  4. Broken Gear. If your ignition switch is faulty, it is possible that this has happened because the pinion gear has had improper contact with the starter ring gear. You would see that the pinion gear has severely damaged teeth all the way around it. This can also happen if you are trying to crank the engine, and it is already running.
  5. Poor Grounding. Mounting bases are crucial for starters to work correctly. They provide the electrical ground path to the starter. It is important that are clear and shiny. This ensures a smooth circuit.
  6. Loose electrical Connections. If the electrical connections are not securely fastened to the starter from the battery, the result can be arcing and burning.
  7. Melted terminals. If there is cranking of the engine, it can cause the terminals to overheat and melt. These terminals will need to be replaced.

It could be the starter solenoid.

The starter solenoid in your car is a relay. When you start your car, the battery sends electricity to the starter solenoid. The solenoid then waits to receive a signal from the ignition switch when you turn the key.

When voltage from the battery is sent to the solenoid, a switch is closed inside the solenoid and a current is sent to the starter.

So, how does the solenoid go bad?

There are 4 reasons why a solenoid goes bad. If any of these things have happened or you notice them, you will need to replace your solenoid.

Moisture

Once moisture gets inside the solenoid, it leads to corrosion. When this happens, it affects the electrical conductivity.

Overheating

When you turn your ignition key, it creates heat because the electrical current is pulled     through. If you hold the ignition switch on for an excessive amount of time, this causes the contacts to melt.

Overtightening

Again, overtightening when replacing the starter can cause damage to the starter. Make sure you do not use an impact wrench when replacing this part.

Incorrect Wiring

If you install the solenoid wrong, this can cause it to short out. When this happens, there will be internal damage to the wires.

Things to Remember

There is nothing more frustrating that a car that has trouble starting. And even though you may replace components such as battery and starter, you can still have an issue.

Having your car constantly engaged is also a problem. Your vehicle should only engage when you have turned the key. If it is happening without you doing this, there is a problem. Often times the problem is a faulty starter or solenoid. This is a repair you can do yourself with a few tools and a new part.

You should be careful if you are replacing your starter. You do not want to use an impact wrench. This will cause you to overtighten, and overtightening can cause cracks and damage.

Another problem to check for is damage due to moisture. If you notice excess moisture under the hood, this can lead to corrosion which causes the electrical conductivity to suffer.

Be sure to thoroughly check for loose connection from your starter terminals to your battery. Make sure that no wires are melted, damaged or loose.

Final Thoughts

There is nothing more frustrating than a car that won’t start, except perhaps a car that is always started. However, with a little bit of under the hood detective work, you can take steps to figure out the root cause. Just be sure to use care when handling your starter and be mindful of electricity.

Hopefully you will have your car back to starting, and stopping, correctly.

How Does A Carburetor Work?

One key part of your vehicle is the carburetor. The carburetor is located in the engine, and the carburetor is one of the key components that keep the engine running properly. In this article, we are going to look at what the carburetor actually does, and more importantly how it works. Knowing how the carburetor works are important because you can use this knowledge to diagnose things if your engine starts to run funny. Being able to solve the problem of why your vehicle isn’t running right yourself can save you lots of money from having a shop figure things out for you. That is why it is important that you keep reading so you can learn exactly what the carburetor is and how does a carburetor work.

How Does A Carburetor Work

How Does A Carburetor Work?

What is Carburetor?

Before getting into detail on how the carburetor works in your vehicle we are first going to talk about what it is. A carburetor or carb for short is a mechanical device that is located in the engine. The job of the carburetor is to control the fuel and air mixture in the cylinders of the engine to make sure the engine will run correctly. Nowadays most vehicles actually don’t have carburetors. Instead, cars today have fuel injection and sensors and computers are able to control the air and fuel mixture in the engine. Before fuel injection was invented though, it was carburetors that controlled this. This made them a key part of the engine.

Why is it important?

The reason that the carb was a key part of the engine was that if it wasn’t working right, then the engine would not run smoothly. That is because you need the proper amount of fuel and air in the engine to get the proper combustions. If you have too much fuel and not enough air, which is known as a rich mixture, then you are losing efficiency and the combustion will be too big which can damage the engine. If you don’t have enough fuel though, or too much air, which is known as running lean, then the engine has to work harder to produce the amount of power that it should produce. These reasons are why it is important to have the proper mixture and why the carb is a key part of the vehicle. Even today these concepts are important even with a fuel injection vehicle.

How does the carburetor work?

So, now that you know why the carburetor is so important we can move on to how it works. Once you know how it works you will understand how it is able to keep the air and fuel mixture right in the engine without having all the electronics and computers inside of it like modern fuel injection. The basic carburetors work like the following. Air comes in thru a pipe and into the engine. The pipe is shaped like a capital T and halfway down the pipe, there is a valve. When you first start the vehicle this valve, or choke, closes almost all the way allowing more fuel into the engine. This allows for a richer mixture so the engine can start.

The way the fuel is drawn in is the air passes thru a narrower part of the pipe called the venture. The air being forced thru the narrow kink causes the air pressure to drop and the drop in this pressure causes suction to form pulling the fuel in. In the bottom part of the pipe, there is the throttle. This is what swivels and controls the actual amount of fuel getting into the engine. When you hit the gas pedal it moves and more fuel goes into the engine allowing you to go faster. The air and fuel mixture flows into the proper cylinders.

The gas in a carburetor system is kept separately from the main fuel tank to prevent too much from going in. It is held in a mini-fuel tank that uses a float-feed chamber. As gas flows into the engine the level in the chamber drops and so does the float. When the float gets to a certain point it opens a valve and lets more gas into the chamber from the engine. Then the level raises and closes itself off once the float is back at the proper level. This explanation of how a carburetor works is the simple basic explanation. The thing is there are a lot of different carburetor designs, but they all work in a similar way. The carburetor has actually been around since the late 19th century, so a lot of changes have been made to it, but the main point of it has stayed the same.

Carburetor differences

So, now that you know the basics of how a carburetor works we can talk about some different kinds. The main way a carb is described is how the air enters it. In the muscle car world, most carbs are downdraft, meaning that the air enters from the top and moves down. For motorcycles, on the other hand, carbs are sidedraft meaning that the air moves in from the side. The reason for the difference is that motorcycles have less space and making the carb sidedraft makes it more compact.

The other big differences that you can find with carbs is the venturi size. The size of the venturi is important because it controls how much air gets thru and in turn how much fuel. In a carb, it is the job to mix the fuel and air evenly and to turn the liquid fuel into a gas. The venturi is a key part of this. By adjusting the size of it you can make sure to get a more proper mixture of gas and fuel for that particular vehicle. That is why it is important to match a carb up to an engine that it was designed to work with. The carburetor is responsible for fuel mixture and they are not interchangeable from one type of engine to another.

Conclusion

You can also get into more detail of slide carbs versus butterfly carbs which are different designs that allowed fuel and air indifferently, but this idea is a lot more advanced than this article is going to go. The key part of this article is so you can know how a carburetor works. It is also important to know the purpose of the carburetor as well if you are going to truly understand how it works. Now after reading this though you have a good basic understanding of what a carburetor is and what it is used for in your vehicle. On top of that, you know the basics of how a carburetor works and even though there are a lot of different types of carbs they all serve the same purpose and follow the basic principles that you now understand.

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What To Do When Your Car Is Hard To Start But Runs Fine?

If your car takes more than 4 seconds to start, you may have an issue you need to deal with. If it’s extremely cold outside, this may be more of a common, weather-related issue and not much to worry about.

If the weather is no different from any other day when your car has started without issue, then you should troubleshoot the problem. Even though your car runs just fine today, it could take a turn for the worse and start giving you even more trouble if the issue is left alone.

What to Do When Your Car Is Hard to Start But Runs FineT

Before You Begin, There Are A Few Questions You Should Answer

Before you go inspecting the parts of your car, it’s best to start by thinking about the situation you have when your car is difficult to start.

For example, is it most difficult to start your car in cold situations? Is it difficult to start it when it’s hot outside? Are there any strange sounds or smells when you start your car or are driving? Are there any warning lights such as a check engine or service engine soon light? These can all give you invaluable clues. If any of these lights are on, it wouldn’t hurt to get a free diagnostic from an auto parts store in your area.

Troubleshooting the Problem

If your car is slow to start, there could be any number of things wrong with it. Troubleshooting will take some time, so prepare for that. First, determine if the problem occurs when the car is hot, cold, or at all times. This will help narrow down where you should look.

Where to Begin Looking

Before anything else, look for signs of a leak. Ensure that all of your wiring is clean and without nicks or bites. An overly worn or chewed wire can easily cause this type of problem. The same can be said for hoses. Corroded connections can also cause a slow start.

Begin by checking the wires connected to your starter. These should be two of them and they should be thoroughly looked over for damage. The connections should also be tested to ensure that they are well-maintained and corrosion-free. The started itself should also be inspected for signs of wear. Too much wear may mean you need a new starter. If your car does run fine, and there are no signs of leaks, smells, or bad wiring, this could be your issue.

Next, move on to check your battery and all of its connectors and wiring. Measure the health of your battery to make sure it isn’t failing.

A bad battery will make your car start slower and slower over time as it outputs less and less power. A battery over three years old should be tested at least once a year and this service will be offered free with an oil change at many shops (though you may have to ask for it.)

A battery with less than 70% of its original functionality is “failing” though it may continue to work “adequately” until it falls to 50% functionality. If you want to refill your battery, the best battery tender is excellent solution.

Check and Clean Your Sensors

Temperature and air flow sensors can begin to give bad readings if they are allowed to become dirty over time. This is a simple thing to fix. Locating the sensors may be the most difficult part but you should be able to do so with the help of your vehicle’s manual.

Test Your Fuel Pump

After inspecting your wiring and hoses for damage or leaks, consider testing your fuel pump. This is done by placing the key in the car and turning it “on” but not so that the engine turns over. Turn it off. Repeat two more times and on the third try, turn the car all the way on so that the engine turns over. If it starts in 3 seconds or less, you’ve solved the problem for now. What you have, in this case, is a weak fuel pump that needs to be replaced.

Further, if it is very cold and you have a weak fuel pump, your car may completely refuse to start on the first try or two if the fuel supply is very low (below an eighth of a tank.)

In this case, adding fuel will allow the car to start “normally” again, but also reveals where your problems are most likely coming from.

Check Your Filters

One of the most overlooked causes of a slow start are clogged filters. This could be the oil or air filter. These both need regular servicing or replacement. Failing to do so can make it hard for your car to do what it needs to run, hence the slow start. This is a warning sign that if these filters remain dirty or clogged, things will begin to get worse or break down.

Why Your Car Starts More Slowly in The Cold

When it’s cold out, your car will start slower than it normally would. Below certain temperatures, it may not start at all even if it’s in great shape.

This is because your engine oil thickens up and your battery outputs less current. Your engine will also need more fuel to get going and stay going.

All of this adds up to a car that will not start quickly though isn’t in need of repair. If, however, the problem persists when temperatures are well above freezing, you have a problem.

Conclusion

There are many, many things that could cause a slow start. The good news is that most of them are easy to troubleshoot on your own. However, if none of the above are the cause of your issue, you may need the help of a professional to find and fix the problem.

That said, if your car is running fine, the problem is likely to be small or localized. Further, all of the above steps should be done annually anyway, in order to keep your vehicle in good condition. The above troubleshooting options should help you locate the issue and give you peace of mind.

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How to Troubleshoot: Engine Cranks But Car Won’t Start

Having an engine that cranks but won’t actually start can be incredibly frustrating. However, there are a number of easy fixes and troubleshooting steps that may help you find and fix the problem. Also, the following steps assume that you have already checked to see if you have a faulty starter. The starter may be faulty if the engine cranks inconsistently or the started itself makes strange or grinding sounds when you attempt to start your vehicle.

Engine Cranks But Car Won't Start

Engine Cranks But Car Won’t Start

Take The Weather and Fuel State Into Account

In extremely cold weather, if your fuel is low, it can be hard for your car to start up. This can mean that your fuel has become less liquid than usual or you just don’t have enough fuel for your car to start as a cold car require more fuel to start and run than a warm car would. If your fuel stores are very low, the weather is well below zero (including wind chill), or your car has been having trouble starting up in cold weather recently, this may be your issue. Thought it may still be wise to go ahead with the rest of your checks to make sure there isn’t another, obvious and more easily fixed issue.

Make Sure You’re Using the Right Key

Newer cars have keys that communicate with them in order to start. A faulty key or key without these capabilities means that it may not start. However, in these cases, the engine will typically not crank.

Check for Odd Sights and Sounds

Do you smell burnt rubber or fuel? Is there smoke or black soot? Both of these can be signs of a leak or flooding. Make sure to clean everything you can and perform proper maintenance to correct these issues before proceeding.

Check Warning Lights and Codes

If your check engine or service engine soon light is on, check the codes. Even if neither light is on, your car may still output certain maintenance codes for things it knows are “wrong” but that it hasn’t realized are preventing things from working correctly. As your car won’t start and if you don’t have a digital code reading device handy, there is a way to read codes “manually” and this method is typically outlined in your vehicle’s owner’s manual or on its manufacturer’s website.

Check Your Battery

Check Your Battery

Check Your Battery

After checking for error and maintenance codes and finding none, check your battery. Is it corroded? Are all of the connectors and wires intact and in good shape? If not, can you repair, clean, or replace them? Once you have done so, it wouldn’t hurt to see if that has fixed your issue. Corrosion can lead to more issues than most people would think.

If no damage is found on the outside, check the function of the battery. It may not be dead, but it could be dying. Had your vehicle been slow to start before it stopped completely? If so, that is a sign that your battery has been dying for quite a while. Even if everything was fine, a battery can lose functionality quite quickly once it has reached the three-year mark and even faster after five years. You must have the best battery maintainer to recharge your battery can to start.

Is Your Security System a Little Too Good?

Occasionally and advanced “anti-theft” security system can prevent a car from starting. If you have recently had a small car accident, fender bender, bent your mirrors, hit your car with anything, or pressed the “panic button” your security system may have engaged and cut off the fuel supply.

Check Your Wiring, Sensors, Filters, and Fuses

Wiring can be chewed overnight causing untold damage and frustration but it’s an easy thing to spot and should be inspected regularly anyway. Sensors, especially temperature sensors, can become blocked, dirty, or corroded and will need to be cleaned or replaced id the damage is too great. Hoses should also be inspected. Even a slow leak could be the culprit.

Filters, both oil and air, can become blocked and prevent a vehicle from starting. They may also be installed too tightly and cause an error with another system or read as blocked even when they are new or clean.

Fuses may blow out or become damaged and need to be replaced. Any fuse could be the problem, so make sure to check them all. If one fuse is damaged, be sure to check the others. There could be more than one at fault.

Test Your Spark Plugs

Much like fuses, spark plugs need to be individually tested to ensure they are in working order. However, spark plugs may also be damaged or weak, rather than simply non-functional. You need special equipment in order to safely test spark plugs.

Test Your Fuel Pump and Compression Systems

Testing your fuel pump and other systems once your car refuses to start will take specialized equipment and knowledge. If you have made it this far and none of the above steps have yielded any results, you may have to seek expert help in order to proceed safely through the rest of your systems.

However, you can test for signs of a dead fuel pump. In order to do this, you should be able to turn the car on, without turning the key far enough to make the engine attempt to turn over. Listen closely as you do. Do you hear the same sounds you usually do? Typically, there will be a light buzzing type sound coming from the fuel pump, briefly. That means it’s working. If there is nothing but dead silence, you may have a dead fuel pump.

Conclusion

If your engine cranks but doesn’t start, any number of things could have gone wrong. Still, most of these fixes are relatively easy and things you may want to do as part of a regular maintenance routine. By now, you may have found your issue. If not, please get help from an experienced professional before attempting to remove or replace intricate parts. Further, if you do not have the tools to perform some of the recommended tests, do not try to do so using makeshift methods. This can be dangerous and risk your safety. Always make sure your vehicle is turned off before working on it.

Bad Alternator vs Bad Battery – How To Know Which One Is Not Working?

There are a lot of different parts that keep your car running. And it’s not always easy to tell what the problem is when it stops working. If you’re having car issues, its easy to jump to conclusions and assume the worst has happened and that your car will never run again. But instead of going into panic mode, you need to figure out what the problem is. Usually, the issue is with either your alternator or your battery. Bad alternator vs bad battery, how do you tell the difference?

Bad Alternator vs Bad Battery  

Bad Alternator vs Bad Battery

What does the alternator do?

The alternator in your car is in charge of recycling the energy your car battery uses while driving. It not only restores the power that the battery loses, it also powers the engine management, entertainment, climate control, and other systems in your car. Your car requires a lot of power to run. And thanks to your alternator, your battery is able to be replenished while your driving, which keeps you moving forward. Think of the alternator as being responsible for cycling the power within your engine as you drive. If you didn’t have an alternator to preform this function your car battery would quickly run out of power and the engine would die.

What does the battery do?

Your battery is also another essential part of your car. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to start or keep your car running.

The battery gives you car a jolt of electrical energy when needed to power the electrical components of your car. This is clear when you start your car, if the battery isn’t working then the car won’t start at all.

Car batteries are designed to last about 3 to 5 years, so if you’ve had your car longer than that and haven’t changed the battery it may be a good idea to get your battery checked.

How to know which one isn’t working? Bad Alternator vs Bad Battery

So now you know what the alternator and the battery do in your car. They are both essential parts that help your car function. But if you’re car isn’t working how do you know which one is the cause? Well there are a few signs that will help you determine the answer to that.

To tell if it’s a bad battery, first try starting the car. If it won’t start and you hear a low humming noise or clicking sound, this is a good indicator that the battery is the issue. Also, check the battery gauge, even when the car is on but the engine isn’t running the battery should still be powering the lights, windshield wipers, automatic windows, etc.

Another good idea is to get a rag and wipe any corrosion off of your battery. Then try starting your car again. After you’ve done that and the car still wont start try jumping the car. After you let it run for a little while, turn the car off and try to restart it as normal. If it still doesn’t turn on, this means there is an issue with the battery because while the car was running the alternator was able to supply the battery with power. But once it was turned off the battery was no longer working again. It’s normal as batteries age that they retain less charge. After enough time, the battery wont be able to hold enough power to start the car, so it’s time to get a new one. If your battery can recharge, using the best battery tender is good way to to it.

Now you know how to tell if it’s a bad battery, so how do you tell if it’s a bad alternator? If the previous steps showed that the battery was working, meaning after you jump started your car and turned it off you were able to turn it on again normally, then it’s time to check the alternator. Some signs of a bad alternator are dim lights on your dashboard, your headlights changing brightness as you accelerate and stop, a smell of burning rubber or hot wires, or a growling sound. Also, check your dashboard for a warning light that might indicate an issue with the alternator. But this may not always get trigger or may not be available on older cars. If you see any of these warning signs, it’s a good indicator that the issue is with your alternator and you need to get it checked.

What to do?

So, what should you do if you have a bad alternator vs bad battery? After you’ve determined where the issue is, you should take it to a mechanic to see what can be done. You will most likely have to replace the faulty part. Depending on your car, the year it was made, and other factors one issue may be more costly to repair than others. Batteries usually cost between $50-$200 depending on what kind of battery you get. Alternators are more expensive, ranging from $400-$1000 and up. So, although the symptoms of a bad battery and bad alternator may be similar, the cost to fix the problem is not.

Conclusion

Now you know what car batteries and car alternators do. They are crucial parts of your engine that keep your car running and in good working order. And now you know how to tell the difference between a bad alternator vs bad battery. When your car isn’t running right, it’s easy to notice. However, it’s not always as easy to figure out the reason why it’s not running properly. Being able to distinguish the key warning signs of whether or not the issue is with your alternator or your battery will help you figure out what you need to do next to fix your car. A battery can be a simple, and affordable fix while an accelerator can be a little more costly. But after reading this article you should have all the knowledge you need to be able to tell if its your alternator or your battery that is the problem. And then you can work on getting it fixed from there.

 

Why Is Your Car Making Clunking Noises When Turning Steering Wheel?

When you drive your vehicle should not make any weird sounds. These could be anything from clunking or scraping sounds to whining or grinding sounds.

This is even true when you are turning. If you are reading this article, however, your car is probably making some sort of noise when you turn the wheel.

Read on to learn all the possible reasons why your car might be making clunking sounds when you turn. Also, learn what you can do about it to prevent these sounds from happening.

clunking noise when turning steering wheel

Why Is Your Car Making Clunking Noises When Turning Steering Wheel?

Your Speed

Depending on the speed you go when turning the wheel and noises are being made could help determine what could be wrong. If you are going fast, slow, or normal speeds when the clunking sound is made, then it could indicate what might be wrong.

That is why it is important to pay attention to your speed when you start to notice grinding sounds while turning. That is also why sometimes you might hear a sound while turning and other times you might not.

Just because you don’t hear a sound all the time, doesn’t mean you should have things checked out. If you hear any odd noises when turning the wheel, then there is something wrong, and you should have your vehicle looked at.

Clunking Noises At Slow Speeds

If the sounds occur at slow speeds, then the problem most likely lies in the power steering system or the suspension. If the sound you hear when turning the steering wheel is a whining sound, then it is most likely the power steering pump failing.

The power steering pump helps make taking turns easier. It does this by helping lubricate the steering system.

If the sound you hear is coming from the engine bay or front of the car, then it is defiantly most likely the power steering pump. The power steering pump should be checked out and tested and replaced if needed.

If the sounds are more of a clunking sound though when you take turns at slow speeds, then the issue is most likely the suspension. The suspension is what is responsible for helping your car handle bumps.

The suspension springs get damaged overtime though from taking this pressure. They are designed to wear out though, so other more important parts of the car don’t get damaged from bumps.

If the suspension is popping when turning, then it is time to get them looked at and most likely have the springs replaced. Another name for the suspension springs are the shocks.

There are a variety of kinds, and they are all rated for the different amount of use, so get the best ones you can for your needs when getting them replaced.

If the sounds occur at slow speeds, then the problem most likely lies in the power steering system or the suspension

If the sounds occur at slow speeds, then the problem most likely lies in the power steering system or the suspension

Clunking Noises At High Speeds

If the noise occurs during high speeds, then the main culprits are CV joints, bearings, or differentials. Depending on the type of sound that is made can help you figure out which one.

The CV joint, if it is going bad, will make a clicking or crunching sound. The CV joint is where the wheels connect to the axel. A bad coupling can cause the popping sound. If the CV joint is bad, then it should be replaced.

If the sound is a humming or buzzing sound though, then you should check the wheel bearings. The wheel bearings are what the wheel floats on so it can rotate without friction.

While turning the wheel bearings are what carries the load of the weight of the vehicle, and that is why the sound is most noticeable when turning, especially at higher speeds.

If the bearing problem is not corrected, then it can lead to uneven tire wear as well as wobbling. That is why if you suspect the bearings are bad, then you should have them replaced.

Bearings are small, and it is a cheap fix and catching it early will save you money in the long run.

If the noise occurs during high speeds, then the main culprits are CV joints, bearings, or differentials

If the noise occurs during high speeds, then the main culprits are CV joints, bearings, or differentials

Clunking Noises At Normal Speeds

If you turn your steering wheel at normal speeds and a sound occurs, then it could be a whole variety of different components. It could be the power steering system.

This is especially true if the sound is a whining sound from the front engine area of the car. The power steering pump could be failing, or it could just be a loose belt or low fluid.

Check it out first if you have a whining sound. However, just because the fix might be easy, it could also be something more series. You might have a bad tie rod.

The tie rod is what connects the steering gears with the knuckles. In other words, they connect the steering rack with the steering arms. If the noise you hear is a clunking noise, then chances are one of the ends of the tie rod is bad.

This is especially true if your steering seems harder. A lot of times if a tie rod goes bathe steering will be loose and mushy. That is because the tie rod helps you maintain control. A bad tie rod will make your vehicle harder to control, so it should be replaced as soon as possible.

Other Bad Parts

On top of the mentioned potential problems, there are also a couple of other problems that will cause your car to make noises, and the noises can happen at any speed if these parts are bad.

One of the other parts that could be bad is the sway bar. The sway bar is responsible for reducing the body of the car from rolling when taking a turn. In other words, it helps keep all four wheels on the ground.

If the sway bar breaks through, then it will make noises from it hitting things when turning. If the sound you hear when you turn the steering wheel is a knock or clanking sound, and you have checked other things, then you need the sway bar checked. A broken sway bar can be dangerous because you could lose control of the vehicle.

One of the other parts that could be bad is the sway bar

One of the other parts that could be bad is the sway bar

The last potential bad part is possible bad ball joints. The ball joints connect the wheel hub to the rest of the suspension.

Depending on the vehicle and how the weight is distributed might dictate how soon or often the car makes sounds from bad ball joints, but most of the time the sound will be a creaking sound.

If you have checked other components and haven’t found the reason your car is making noise when turning the wheel, then be sure to check the ball joints.

Conclusion

So, as you can see, there are a lot of potential reasons why your car might make noise while turning the steering wheel. Any sound while turning the wheel though means you have a problem.

It could be not enough power steering fluid or a loose belt causing the power steering pump not to work or a dry suspension bushing, or it might be something worse. Your speed when the sound occurs can help you figure out the problem as well as looking at other parts of your car.

For example, check the tires and see how they are wearing. If they are wearing unevenly and you have sounds while turning then the suspension may be bad, the wheel bearings may be worn out, or struts might be damaged.

On top of this if you notice control issues, then the problem might be in a ball joint or more likely the sway bar or tie rods. No matter what part is worn out or damaged though you should have your car checked out whenever you notice odd noises while turning the wheel.

Your car should not make noises when turning, but if it does, then now you know what you can do about it. Luckily for you after reading this you can solve the problem and fix it or why your car is making clunking sounds when turning the steering wheel.

What Is The Truth About Seafoam?

Engine additives and fuel additives come in a variety of different forms. They all, however, are supposed to do the same thing, and that is to clean the engine out and help it burn the fuel better.

One of the most common additives out there is Seafoam. In this article we are going to look at what Seafoam is, what it does, and also learn the truth about it.

Read on to learn everything you want to know about Seafoam and have all your questions answered on if you should use the stuff or not.

What is the truth about Seafoam?

What is the truth about Seafoam?

What is Seafoam?

Before going into if you should use Seafoam or the effects of Seafoam, we will first cover what it is and also what engine additives in general are.

Seafoam is an engine additive that is used to clean out the engine. You can mix it into the fuel in your fuel tank, or some people put it into the oil.

It is a chemical that is supposed to help break down gunk and sludge inside your engine and other parts of the car. It is also supposed to help the fuel burn better cleaner to prevent more buildup from occurring.

What does it do?

When you add Seafoam into the engine or oil, it will cause a lot of white smoke to come out of the engine and out of your vehicle. Some people say that this is the carbon burning off of this, but others will say that this is just the Seafoam burning.

When to use it?

So, now that you know what it is and what it does the big question is when you should use it. Depending on who you ask the answer will vary, some never say, while others say all the time. Some will give the in-between answer of if you start to have knocked.

The people that say never use it say this because there is no proof that it works and a lot of them probably have experiences of the Seafoam causing more harm than good.

The ones that say to use it all the time have probably had their vehicle start to run better after using it, and they are giving the Seafoam credit when there is no proof.

The last group that says when there is knocking are saying this because they know there is an issue and the Seafoam might fix it and if it does, then great, but if it doesn’t then you aren’t out much.

Which group is right?

So, that brings up the question of which group is right and the answer to this is it is hard to say.

There is no proof that Seafoam really helps reduce carbon in the engine and other lines, but some people swear by the stuff, and they do so because they have had good luck with.

Others have had bad luck though and blame the Seafoam for clogging things like the catalytic converter or blame it for gumming up the O2 sensor.

They say it causes the carbon to break off parts that it is attached too and instead of it burning off it just clogs things and attaches to something else.

Again though, there is no proof indeed that it is from using the Seafoam that you had these issues and they might have been going to happen anyways.

Should you use it?

Should you use Seafoam?

Should you use Seafoam?

So, you may be wondering should you use Seafoam, and the answer is it depends on if the risk is worth the potential reward to you.

There are a lot of different fuel additives that are supposed to help burn off carbon and remove impurities from the gas, and it really is up to you if Seafoam is the one you want to use or not.

If your vehicle is already running poorly, then using Seafoam and getting lucky and having your vehicle run right again might be worth the risk of using it.

However, if your vehicle runs great already, then using it and risking it having something go wrong might make you decide not to use it.

A lot of people feel that fuel additives are just snake oil and don’t really work. A lot of car people think that if you use the good gas in your car and do regularly maintained like changing oil and the filters, then you don’t need fuel additives.

Others think that additives help make your car run better and more consistently. There really is no right side, and you just have to form an opinion on your own based on your risk tolerance.

More: If you want your car’s battery to be fully charged, highly recommend you use best battery maintainer to recharge your car battery.

Conclusion

So, the truth about Seafoam is that it is a fuel additive. That is the only thing that is completely true. The rest is based on opinion or untestable marketing.

Seafoam is supposed to remove carbon deposits, but there is no way to know if it really works or not. Some say the stuff is great while others say it will gunk up your vehicle.

Some people think you don’t need any fuel additives while others think they help the vehicle run better and longer. The truth is, you have to test them yourself and see if you notice any results or not.

The truth about Seafoam is you have to make your own opinion on it and find the truth yourself.

 

Why Won’t Power Door Lock Work On Driver’s Side?

Your car’s door locks are a key part of your car. While the door locks don’t affect how your car runs, it is still nice to have ones that work. That is because your door locks keep the things inside your car safe and also keeps your car as a whole safe.

Sometimes though they stop working for various reasons. If they all stop working at once, then it is pretty easy to find the problem. It is generally a blown a fuse or just a dead battery in your key fob, but what I only one isn’t working.

Well, in this article we will look at what it means when only the driver side power door lock won work, but the tips in here apply to your car no matter which door isn’t the one locking.

Why Won’t Power Door Lock Work On Driver’s Side

Why Won’t Power Door Lock Work On Driver’s Side

How the door lock works?

To understand why only one door may not be locking properly, it is important to understand how your door locks work. Both the kind that have the switch tip thing that opens and closes or the type that have the push thing that goes up and down, they both work the same way.

When you press the button on your key fob to lock the door or press the button inside the car to lock the door, it sends a signal to the car to engage or disengage the locks.

More specifically it sends a signal to the door lock actuator which takes this signal and turns on a motor to activate the lock. When just one door lock isn’t working it normally means that you have something wrong with this system.

Things to check

So, now that you know you have something wrong with this system it is time to start checking it. The first and easiest thing to check is to make sure that nothing is obstructing the door lock from engaging.

If dirt or grim gets in there, then it might prevent the locking part from moving and locking. A good way to know if that is the problem is to listen when you press the locks and see if you can hear the broken door trying to engage.

The best way to clear out the lock mechanism without taking it apart is to spray some lubricant into the lock. Something like WD40 will help lubricate it and break up any obstructions. This might be a simple and easy fix to your problem.

After lubricating the lock if it still doesn’t work, then you will have to dig deeper into the door to try to fix it. This will mean taking the door panel off to get inside of it so you can get to the actuator and motor.

Once you have the door panel off, you can see if there is any visible damage to the parts in the gearbox. Sometimes a gear from the motor can break, and this could be the cause of the problem.

If you see loose pieces in the door lock area or the gear is missing teeth, then you will just need to replace it. If there is no visible damage, then you will have to go into real deep testing.

Testing the actuator

The first thing that you should test is the actuator. The best way to do this is to remove the wires connected to it and then take a battery. Twelve volts is best, but a 9-volt battery is normally easier to get.

With a 9-volt battery wire, a couple probes to it and then touch the probes to the input connection on the actuator. If the actuator is good, then it should try to engage the lock and make some sound.

If the battery need to recharge, highly recommend you use best battery tender to recharge your car battery.

If the actuator is dead, then it won’t do anything, and you have found the problem. If the actuator is bad, all you will have to do is buy a new one.

A lot of times you will have to order a new one, so you might have to go a few days without your lock working and your door apart. If the actuator is good though, then you can move on to testing the other possible issue.

 

Testing the motor

The other possible issue is a dead motor. At this point that is the only thing left to check. You can check it in the same way as the actuator. Connect some wires to a 9-volt battery and then connect the probes to the motor.

A working motor should make sound and try to spin. If it doesn’t, then it is dead and needs to be replaced. Again, just buy or order a replacement part and install it. I

f the motor isn’t bad and none of the other things are bad, then you have or had a problem with how the lock was put together. Reassemble the lock, and it might work again. The problem might have been a bad connection that you just didn’t notice.

Why only one lock go bad?

You may be wondering why only one motor or actuator failed though if you lock all your doors the same amount of times. Well, since these parts are moving, they happen to fail at different rates.

This is especially true for the plastic pieces like the gears because even though they are the same, they all had different variables in their production. That is why one lock may break and none of the others even with equal use.

Conclusion

So, now you know why only your driver side door isn’t working. You know that locks are made up of gearboxes, motors, and actuators and any one of these parts can break at any time within a single door.

Now you know what to look for though if you only have one lock that isn’t working. You know to start with lubricating the lock and see if that fixes it before taking it apart.

If you have to take it apart though you now know to look for broken gears in the gearbox and how to test the motor and actuator to see which one might be bad. You then know how to replace it, so the next time your driver side lock isn’t working, or one of your other locks isn’t working you will be able to troubleshoot it and fix it yourself.

Why Does Battery Light Go On And Off While Driving?

A key component in your car is the battery. If the battery is not charged enough, then the car won’t start. How can you know if your battery is good or not? Well, you can test it, but you can also rely on your battery indicator light working properly.

What does it mean though when your battery light on your dash goes on and off though? Does it mean that the battery is going bad?

Well, read on to find out exactly what it means when the battery light goes on and off while driving and also what you should do about it.

Why does Battery Light go on and off While Driving

Why does Battery Light go on and off While Driving?

Battery Light

The battery light serves two main purposes in your car. One is to let you know when there is an issue with the battery, but the other is to let you know if there is something wrong with the alternator.

When the battery light goes on and off while driving, it means you are having some sort of issues with one of these two things.

Normally it is a good idea to check these things out as soon as possible because if either stop working properly, then you will be left stranded.

The battery light on your dashboard is important to look out for a while driving. Sometimes it can be hard to notice it come on as well because it might only blink on for a second or two before going back off. Other times it may stay on longer.

When does it come on?

Depending on when the battery warning light comes on might help you figure out what is wrong. If the light comes on when just driving normal on a smooth road, then it is most likely more of an issue with the alternator not putting out enough charge or not working properly.

On the other hand, if the light comes on when you hit a bump in the road or are going around a curve, then the problem is more likely to be a connection issue with a wire.

This is because a bump or curve can cause a wire that is barely connected to shift and lose connection. The reason your car doesn’t just die when the connection is lost is that your car can run off the battery charge for a while.

Also, if the alternator is working right, then it can put off enough charge to run the car even if the battery is not connected.

Alternator issues

So, now we can get in-depth more on the possible issues that are happening when your battery light goes on and off while driving.

The first and worse one is that the alternator is not working properly. An alternator normal doesn’t just die and stop working.

Instead, it malfunctions and stops working slowly. This means that it will work, stop, and work again and sometimes it will do this quickly, while other times it will be longer between the cycle.

This is why your battery light might come on for a bit when the alternator isn’t working and then go off when it starts working again.

it is important to check your alternator if your battery light starts to blink on and off

It is important to check your alternator if your battery light starts to blink on and off

The alternator is a key part of your car because it helps take mechanical energy from your car and converts it to electrical energy to recharge the battery, so the battery can start your car again the next time it is needed too.

If you don’t have a working alternator, your car will eventually stop working. If it goes all the way out, then your vehicle will die pretty quickly, and you will be stranded.

This is why it is important to check your alternator if your battery light starts to blink on and off. The first thing to check with the alternator is to make sure all the wires are connected properly.

If there are any loose wires, then tighten them. After making sure all the wires are connected, you can test the alternator.

Testing the alternator is easy to do. All you need is a voltmeter. Hook the voltmeter up to the battery and see what the reading is. It should be at least 12 volts.

Then start the car and see what the reading is. The reading should jump up to around 14 volts if the alternator is working right.

If the reading does not move up or if the number starts to drop, then the alternator is not working properly and will need to be repaired or replaced.

You can most likely need to take your car to a shop and have this done unless you are a mechanic and good with cars. If the alternator is fine, but you are still having the battery light come on, then it is time to check the battery itself.

Battery Issues

The first thing you should do when checking the battery is to make sure all the wires are connected tightly. If the wires come loose for moments while driving, then that can be why the battery light is coming on and then going off.

One key thing to do when checking the wires tightness is to also make sure that they are clean. If the connection is dirty, then this can affect it as well. Clean off the battery terminals when checking the wires to make sure there is no corrosion on them.

After checking the wires, you can check the battery. If you haven’t already connected a voltmeter to the battery when checking the alternator, then you can do that now.

You can check the battery by a voltmeter

You can check the battery by a voltmeter

The reading should be at least 12 volts. If it is less than that, then the battery is not holding a charge and will need to be replaced. If it is, then you can go to any local auto tool shop, and most will test your battery for free.

More: You can use the best battery maintainer to charge your car battery in ways that avoid the potential damaging effects that can be caused by other charger.

They will hook a device up to it, and the device will make sure that the battery is working and charging right. The device can also normally check the alternator as well, so it isn’t a bad idea to have them look at your vehicle even if you have checked the alternator with the voltmeter yourself. This way you will know for sure all your issues are taken care of.

Conclusion

After checking the alternator and the battery, you should have the problem found of why your battery indicator light keeps coming on and off while driving.

Normally it is a failing alternator, but if it mainly happens when hitting bumps, then it could be as simple as loose wires. Luckily for you, you now know the possible reasons why your battery indicator light keeps going on and off while driving and you also know what to do about it, so if it happens to you, you can get the problem fixed before getting stranded somewhere from a bad battery or alternator.

5

What Does It Mean When Battery Gauge Goes Up And Down?

A key component in any vehicle is the battery. If the battery is not working right, then the rest of your car will not work right either. The main problem that happens with batteries is that they lose charge or stop charging effectively over time.

As batteries age, they struggle with holding a charge. Some vehicles have a battery gauge on the dash and sometimes the needle jumps around.

Does the needle jumping mean your battery is bad? Well, read on to find out the answer to that question and to find out what it really means when your battery gauge goes up and down.

What Does It Mean When Battery Gauge Goes Up And Down?

What Does It Mean When Battery Gauge Goes Up And Down?

Battery Gauge

Before going into detail about what it means when your battery gauge jumps around, we will first talk about what the battery gauge on your dash actually is.

Not all cars have the battery gauge on the dash, but it is a useful thing to have because the battery gauge is essentially a voltmeter that is always connected to your battery.

A voltmeter is a tool used to get the reading of how much power is in your battery. The needle may move some while driving, but in reality, the needle shouldn’t move much while driving if everything is working right.

That is why it is a concern when it does jump around while driving.

Why Shouldn’t Battery Gauge Goes Up And Down?

You may be wondering to yourself why the needle shouldn’t move while driving. You may be thinking there is power being taken from the battery by the radio, headlights, and other parts of the car while driving, so shouldn’t that make the needle go down?

Well, this is true that power is being taken from the battery, but power is also being given to the battery while driving. That is the purpose of the alternator.

So, does the needle in the battery gauge jumping around means the battery is bad. No, it actually typically means that you have a problem with your alternator.

Alternator Problem

Your alternator is responsible for taking extra mechanical power from the engine and turning it into electrical energy to recharge the battery or keep it charged. Using best battery tender to do that is excellent decision.

The needle jumping means that the battery isn’t getting the same amount of charge consistently.

The reason the needle jumping doesn’t mean that the battery is bad is that if you have a battery not holding a charge that will only cause the needle to not go up as high on the gauge, but it won’t cause the gauge to jump.

What causes the gauge to jump is that the charge of the battery is changing and this can be quickly or slowly depending on the problem with the alternator and if it is cutting out and dying or something else.

The first thing to Check

The first thing to check when you have your cars battery gauge jumping around is the serpentine or alternator drive belt. The belt is what connects the engine to the alternator, and if the belt is not working right then, the alternator won’t work right either.

When checking the belt you want to check two things. Those two things are the wear on the belt and also its tightness. If the belt is starting to look old, then that can cause the tension to change while driving.

If you see any visible damage or wear on the belt, then it is a good idea to change it. Changing the belt could solve all your problems with the battery gauge jumping.

If the belt does not look wore out, then the next thing to check is how tight it is. The belt needs tension to be able to transfer the power from the engine to the alternator.

It does this by spinning along with the engine and turning a wheel on the alternator. If the belt is loose, then it may slip and this will cause the alternator wheel not to spin and will, therefore, cause the alternator not to work.

You want to make sure the belt is tight, so all the parts will spin. However, you don’t want to tighten it over because this can make it hard to spin for the opposite reason. Also, having the belt too tight can lead to it breaking or wearing out sooner.

Testing Alternator

Battery Gauge Goes Up And Down

The easiest way to test the alternator at home is to connect a voltmeter to the battery

If the belt seems fine and it is the correct tightness, but you are still having issues with the battery gauge jumping, then you will have to test the alternator.

The easiest way to test the alternator at home is to connect a voltmeter to the battery. The battery should read around 14.4 volts with the car running and not fluctuate.

If it is reading less than this, but not changing, then the battery is weak, but the issue isn’t the alternator.

If the reading is jumping, then you will need to have your alternator checked out by a professional because it isn’t working right. It could be as simple as a bad wire or connection, or it could be that your alternator needs replaced.

Corrosion

Before condemning the alternator though, one other thing that can cause the battery gauge to go up and down is if the wires aren’t connected well or are corroded.

It is important to keep your wires clean and connected tightly to the battery. Clean off any corrosion and tighten down any loose wires before replacing the alternator unless you know for sure it is bad.

Bad connections can cause reading spikes, and it is a lot cheaper to clean and tighten wires than to replace the alternator

Conclusion

Now you know though what it means when your battery gauge jumps up and down. You know that it doesn’t mean that the battery is bad, but instead normally means that you have an issue with the alternator.

You should understand better why that is the case and you also know some things to check and ways to fix the problem. You know to check all the wire connections and clean any corrosion.

You also know to check the alternator belt and replace if worn or make sure it is tightened correctly. Lastly, if neither of these things solves the problem then you know to test the alternator and replace it if bad.

Your battery is key to driving your car, so you want to make sure it is charging right before you get stranded somewhere and if you notice your battery gauge jumping, then you should have things taken care of right away.